Article includes commentary from Lieff Cabraser partner Ann B. Shaver, who represents the plaintiffs in the case
The Register reports that over 8,000 female Microsoft employees have appealed a judge’s decision to deny class certification in a gender lawsuit against the tech giant in which female employees and ex-employees allege pay discrimination and claim that top management at Microsoft knew there was a problem but failed to fix it.
The Register notes that expert testimony presented by the women, and undisputed by Microsoft, shows there is a six per cent pay gap between men and women who work for the company.
Though thousands of women employees joined together to speak out against the gender pay disparities at Microsoft, their effort to seek justice on a class basis was forestalled last year when a U.S. district court judge ruled that the evaluation process was so varied that there was no common injury shared by them all. Instead, the cases would have to proceed on an individual basis, depriving the plaintiffs of the efficiencies and focus of a class action suit.
Lieff Cabraser partner Ann B. Shaver, who represents the women in the lawsuit, noted that “[t]he leadership of the company were aware that women suffer serious bias and did not remedy it.” She added that Microsoft’s own pay equity audits had been “ridiculed” and resulted in “scores of emails” from female employees to senior management taking issue with them.
In short, Shaver maintained the position that Microsoft knew that there a big and persistent problem with women being paid less than men for the same job – even when the women were found to have out-performed their male colleagues – but didn’t take steps to figure out why and fix it.
Allegations of Sex Discrimination at Microsoft
The class action complaint alleges that Microsoft has engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against female employees in technical and engineering roles (“female technical employees”) with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment. The unchecked gender bias that pervades Microsoft’s corporate culture has resulted in female technical professionals receiving less compensation than similar men, the promotion of men over equally or more qualified women, and less favorable performance evaluation of female technical professionals compared to male peers.
Detailed information on the case is available at microsoftgendercase.com.
Battling Gender Discrimination in the Workplace
Lieff Cabraser has a strong tradition of fighting for employee rights across America. Our current work includes gender discrimination cases against Google, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs. These employment law class action cases challenge discrimination based on employees’ race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability; wage violations, including failure to pay overtime, break time, or vacation time; and misuse of employees’ retirement benefits. We also represent employees who “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing by their employers as well as in other cases alleging violations of the law.
About Anne Shaver
Anne Shaver is a partner in Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office with a practice focusing on employment law cases. Anne has taken a leading role in gender class action lawsuits that challenge business practices and work cultures at some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world, including Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and KPMG. Ms. Shaver’s passion for upholding worker rights has most recently been focused on gender discrimination “impact litigation,” where she represents clients seeking to alter core business practices in ways that transform not just individual companies, but entire industries.